According to intensive care physicians, a lack of staff in intensive care units is a major problem
Photo: Fabian Strauch / dpa
Intensive care physicians in Germany have urged the government to urge hospitals to shut down emergency operations.
"We are at a relatively critical point in the second wave of the pandemic," said Uwe Janssens, President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (Divi), at a federal press conference on Thursday.
Although the number of cases is currently higher than in the spring, there has been no regulation from politicians that hospitals should switch to emergency operations.
"Elective operations have to be postponed again to free up additional capacity," demanded Janssens.
"To do this, the hospitals need instructions and financial help from the state."
The number of registered new corona infections in Germany reached a new high of 16,774 cases within one day on Thursday.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the previous record from the previous day was 14,964 cases.
On Wednesday, the federal and state governments decided on strict measures across Germany that should apply from November 2nd.
The intensive care physicians - like Chancellor Angela Merkel - described these as sensible and proportionate.
A lockdown is always a parodoxon, said the infectiologist Clemens Wendtner from the Munich Clinic Schwabing.
"After a lockdown, the numbers look better and better. That gives the impression that the lockdown wasn't necessary."
But this impression is not true.
Representatives of some of the largest German university hospitals were also present at the press conference, such as the Charité in Berlin, the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and the Munich Clinic Schwabing.
You are all watching the increasing numbers of Covid-19 intensive care patients in recent weeks with concern.
"We now have to concentrate on urgently needed operations and the care of Covid 19 patients," said Stefan Kluge, Deputy Director of Intensive Care Medicine at the UKE.
"The government's actions will only have an impact in the coming weeks."
It should not be forgotten that patients only come to the intensive care unit after ten days.
"So the wave is still ahead of us."
In addition, ventilated patients usually stayed on the ward for a long time, sometimes up to three weeks.
"So they really clog the intensive care units for a very long period of time," said Kluge.
"Not a tired mouse anymore with the staff"
The situation in the German intensive care units is still controllable, said Janssens.
Germany has an excellent health system and, compared to other European countries, much larger capacities.
But in a few weeks this could change dramatically with further exponential growth in new infections.
"And the hospital staff are getting infected more and more often, they drop out immediately," he said.
Janssens had already pointed out the shortage of staff in the healthcare sector in a YouTube video in the middle of the week.
And at the press conference as well as to the dpa, he emphasized how precarious the personnel situation is: "We have more beds and more ventilators than at the beginning of the pandemic. But we don't have one more tired mouse with the staff," said Janssens.
"In 14 days we will have the serious cases of illness and our large centers will come under maximum load."
His association maintains a register that shows the number of free intensive care beds nationwide.
This should also enable a transfer from heavily used clinics to houses with capacities.
The numbers are updated daily.
The intensive care beds should be calculated with the necessary nursing staff.
Because a ventilated Covid 19 patient alone needs up to five nurses or carers.
In Berlin, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, some clinics are already well occupied with Covid 19 patients, other sick people are already being displaced, said Kluge.
The situation is "absolutely worrying".
Of those infected, around five percent would have to be treated in the hospital and two percent in the intensive care unit, according to Kluge.
People over 70 have a risk of death of over 50 percent.
The German Society for Specialized Nursing had already warned of a personnel emergency this week.
"If there is a massive increase in corona patients in intensive care units, not all of them will be able to receive professional care," it said.
Not because there is a lack of intensive care beds, but because there is a lack of qualified nursing staff.
"We also address our appeal to all employees in the hospital:" People, you are systemically important.
Even if you leave the hospital, "said Janssens of the dpa. A party is simply not the right time. He himself is a big opera and theater fan, said the chief physician of the clinic for internal medicine and intensive care medicine at St. Antonius Hospital in Eschweiler, North Rhine-Westphalia. "I miss that tremendously.
But I see it as a social responsibility and obligation to hold back there.
With that I protect many, many others. "
He is not angry, he is rather sad about the development of the number of infections.
"Personal fun is more important to many than community," said Janssens.
In his opinion, the current situation has a lot to do with a selfish attitude.
"If people were to think more of" you ", things would certainly go better. I like to say: 'Come to the intensive care unit for an hour and look at a Covid-19 patient. How he lies on his stomach and what they do Sisters have to do there. '"
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